India should focus on epidemic instead of war with China

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By Wang Wenwen Source: Global Times

A worker sanitizes the door of a shop at a market in Agartala, the capital city of India’s northeastern state of Tripura, Oct. 18, 2020. (Str/Xinhua)

War is always in the minds of some Indians, no matter how messy their domestic situation is.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Uttar Pradesh Chief Swatantra Dev Singh has caused quite a stir by claiming that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already decided when India would go to war with China and Pakistan, according to Indian media reports on Sunday.

Such ambitious claims would leave his Indian audience a wrong impression that India is so powerful that it will surely win if it goes to war with China and Pakistan.

But he failed to mention that the national strength, including military might, of China far exceeds that of India’s.

Although India is a major power in political terms, it is bound to lose, should a war with China break out. Even some comments on Twitter are rational. “Why are people making such loose statements? Isn’t there any control when it comes to international politics and security?” one asked.

Indian media also reported that the eighth round of corps commander level talks between China and India are likely to be held this week in a bid to de-escalate bilateral tensions along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh.

China and India in the past few months have been engaged in a new round of border frictions, and the talks are aimed at preventing bilateral ties from deteriorating.

India needs to send goodwill signals, instead of resorting to bellicose approaches, and fanning nationalistic sentiments.

The BJP’s Uttar Pradesh chief cannot represent the official stance of the BJP-led Indian government. He does not take charge of military affairs or government affairs. When he touted war, he was thinking of power politics.

At the end of 2018, the BJP lost power in five states – Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Jharkhand, casting doubt over the governing capability of the ruling BJP.

Swatantra Dev Singh did not help re-establish the BJP’s prestige, but fanned the flames of war without having to bear the consequences. He might bring some support to the BJP, given the current tense India-China relations and the raging nationalistic sentiment in India from a short-term perspective, but he is leading Indians toward an impractical path.

If India wants to win a fight, it should focus on winning the fight against the novel coronavirus. Regrettably, India has suffered a miserable defeat. India ranks the world’s second highest in coronavirus infections. The number of recorded cases continues to rise, and by Sunday, the COVID-19 death toll in Uttar Pradesh had risen to 6,882. Comparatively, China’s national death toll stands at 4,634, far below the Indian state. When a regional party chief in India is advocating war, China’s local officials are engaged in down-to-earth efforts to put the epidemic under control and focus on economic recovery.

There is no myth of China’s “dramatic” economic recovery, but only the pragmatic and people-oriented attitude of officials.

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